The Islamic Jihad terror group downplayed on Thursday warnings by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and threatened to continue to carry out attacks against Israel.
Earlier on Thursday, Gantz said that Israel is able to reach every terrorist involved in bombing plots against Israeli targets overseas.
Speaking at a ceremony honoring outstanding officers, Gantz said, “We know the source of these attacks. The terrorists must know that Israel's long arm will ultimately reach anyone who wishes to harm Israeli civilians and the Jewish people, whether they are in Gaza, Lebanon or anywhere else.”
The Islamic Jihad, however, rejected the threat and one of its senior leaders, Sheikh Nafez Azzam, said the group would continue its armed struggle against Israel.
“The ceasefire will not last,” Channel 2 News quoted Azzam as saying during a rally in Gaza. “The Israeli threats will not stop the resistance and the insistence of the Palestinians to respond to the violent acts being carried out using powerful weapons such as aircraft, tanks and missiles.”
He added, “Israel will not able to impose itself as a fait accompli in the region and will not realize its plans.”
Azzam also boasted and said that “all the attempts of the occupation to overrun us have failed. There is now mostly a sense of confusion there, despite all the technological means that they are holding and despite their mass destruction and massacres.”
“We continue the struggle and the Jihad,” he added. “We are sticking to our rights, we will not retreat, we will not break, not surrender, and we will not accept the conditions that Israel is trying to force on us.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israel placed the IDF on its highest state of alert following a situation assessment by senior commanders. The assessment was conducted after a pair of Grad rockets fired from Egypt exploded in Eilat early on Thursday.
The high alert comes as thousands of visitors begin arriving in the resort town of Eilat for the holiday.
The move came just one week after IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said Israel’s military would remain at full strength – but not high alert – over Passover. Gantz’s decision ended the Israeli tradition of the army “going on vacation” for Passover.
As part of the high alert, a general closure was imposed on the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria.